Opinion: MP Outerbridge On Bermuda Charities

July 9, 2014

[Written by OBA MP Nandi Outerbridge]

When the people in some countries see suffering, they expect their governments to take care of it. They learn to keep a certain distance from people who need help.

Bermudians are different. They see suffering and want to help. They feel a personal responsibility to help those in danger, or in need. And that is part of the reason Bermuda really is Another World.

I was inspired to write this article by the wonderful turnout the One Bermuda Alliance’s youth group, the Future Bermuda Alliance, had when we asked for volunteers to help with the Cathedral breakfast on Monday.

The FBA is the youth wing of the OBA. Until the election, I was its vice chairman. I was pleased to be able to rejoin them at the Cathedral breakfast. There were 15 people there to serve those who were in need, so you can see we had no difficulty getting people to turn to for this excellent service for those in need.

There are approximately 430 charities in Bermuda – that’s one for every 167 people who live here – an enormous number by comparison with other countries. It’s something we should be proud of, and something we should encourage in our children.

But there is a downside to charity. Sometimes unscrupulous people are tempted for selfish reasons to take advantage of Bermudian willingness to give. So to protect people who are potentially donors, the Government has a big job to do in overseeing charities.
Amendments to the Charities Act, passed by the House of Assembly at the end of last month, bring the existing legislation up to date in an effort to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the sector, which employs around 900 people and generates $70 million in annual revenue.

The new amendments ensure organisations regularly file up-to-date financial statements have been passed by the House of Assembly, and will take effect once regulations have been written and published.

The government is urging that charities should be certified in a scheme run by the Bermuda National Standards Committee. The Committee says that 12 charities — including Bermuda National Gallery, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Bermuda and PRIDE Bermuda — have undergone its certification process and it hopes many more will sign up.

The Centre on Philanthropy says it welcomes the new legislation to replace the “outdated” Charities Act 1978.

The Centre’s Executive director, Elaine Williams, said: “The new Act is a vital part of the charitable sector’s management and accountability, but this also means a higher standard of operations and ultimately better service provision to clients and the community.

“The daily operations of most charities are carried out by qualified, passionate professionals who are experts in their field.
“We believe that most of the larger established charities are able to meet the standards of the new act and The Centre on Philanthropy is here to assist all charities in achieving this.”

In advance of the new legislation being debated in the House, the Centre on Philanthropy held several town meetings, presentations and focus group meetings with the public and the organisation’s membership.

“As a result a submission was sent to the Government outlining concerns and suggestions collected from our membership,” Ms Williams said. “We are pleased that some of our suggested recommendations have been included in this document.”

The Centre, she said, had been pleased it was able to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Registry General to confirm the commitment of both parties to work together to ensure non-profits are properly equipped to deliver the best possible service to the public.

“We urge charities to operate as much as possible within best practice guidelines, and to seek advice and assistance through the Centre on Philanthropy when needed.”

- Nandi Outerbridge

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Comments (31)

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  1. Gotham says:

    Interesting new writing style Don…

    • Hmmm says:

      How about commenting on the content of replacing the outdated charities act!

      • Biko says:

        I still think she is an excellent poster girl surrogate !!!!!!!!!!!

      • Gotham says:

        Sure, I firmly believe charity begins at home, and I’m pleased to say that it appears Don does too…

  2. indi says:

    I’m going to start my own sex offenders list on instagram

    Just wait on it.
    Government won’t do it
    Then someone else will

    See you on di gram

    • .am says:

      If you do opt to do that, then please ensure what they’ve done accompanies their post — otherwise you’re grouping rapists and pedophiles with people who have committed lesser offenses, like polishing one off in a back alley.

  3. Conservative says:

    who writes these Articles for MP Outerbridge and Senator Toni Daniels?

    • Conservative says:

      ……also I didn’t know that MP Outerbridge was Vice-Chair of the FBA, why is she unable to speak publicly or contribute in the House of Assembly? Yet supposedly draft, then publish, such eloquent pieces?

      I am very confused with this OBA business

      • lucky 7 says:

        If you get confusd this easily, maybe you should go back to school.

      • frank says:

        in the house she is too busy playing with her cellphone

  4. Greed Killed Bermuda says:

    Why does the OBA keep sending these things is – its clear that:

    1) Nandi doesn’t write this
    2) Nandi won’t win next time

    Nice attempt, but no one takes her seriously. Sending things in her name doesn’t make people take her anymore seriously.

    • Impressive says:

      OBA, the party of deception.. With all their supposed intelligence, you would think they would have the insight to see that the public know that most of these pieces are written by someone other than the person who is credited for it.. Their consistent attempts to mislead the public and take peoples intelligence for granted will be their un-doing in the next election.

      • LOL (Original TM*) says:

        Same goes for the PLP. So whatevs…………

        LOL

  5. Just another blogger says:

    I feel like im reading and Essay on new legislation. A more informative piece of work reported would have been suffice. I don’t need Mrs. Outerbridge to give a essay piece on it. Gosh!

    • Kunta says:

      Well at least we’re PAYING for something !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • LOL (Original TM*) says:

        What you up set it didn’t cost 800K that no one really know what they got for the 800K…………………..

        LOL jokers

  6. drunken ursula says:

    people please that girl didn’t write a damn thing…more b/s coming from this gov’t….don’t come knocking next time…only a pretty face no brains…go away

  7. Robert says:

    Nandl, stay seated until the ride comes to a complete stop .

  8. TickTockBda says:

    Not sure why it matters who writes these statements, all that matters is if someone is going to do something about what is being stated.

    Point Blank…

  9. Navin Johnson says:

    and does anyone think that Marc Bean writes his speeches? he has trouble reading them let alone writing them…or the most eloquent Derrick Burgess?

    • LOL (Original TM*) says:

      for reall the DB thing anyway.

      LOL

  10. Sen. Diallo V. Rabain says:

    Normally, I will read these types of articles and move on because I understand the politicalness of having consultant written articles and a parliamentarian attached to it. However this was an fee increase I spoke out about in the Senate and feel compelled to provide a view from the other side.

    The fact that smaller charities will end up paying a greater percentage of their donations than the large charities was something I took great exception to. Of the 400+ charities, the majority are small and very specific charities that operate on a one to two off event basis. They raise a small amount of money compared to the large, day to day charities. We are talking about less than $10,000 in yearly donations and payouts. These charities are usually operated by 1 or 2 people, working out of their homes and not compensated for their work. How this works out is that these charities will end up paying up to 1% of their donation as fees while the larger ones end up paying 0.08% of their donations in fees. The smaller charities, due to their small size need all the funding they can get. To now subject them to unnecessary fees is yet another blow they can not afford.

    The fact that the OBA suggested (in the senate) that these fees could perhaps force charities to consider consolidating to avoid the fees shows a lack of compassion IMO. Once again, the OBA government showing who they really are looking out for.

    Also, this was passed in the house in June, not May as the writer above suggests. The fact that she had nothing to say to bill when it was passed in the house makes this column ring even more hollow. To claim the Centre of Philanthropy completely endorses the changes is erroneous as well. As you can see from the attached link below, they were in agreement with me as it relates to the fees being attached and that they should be income percentage based to be more fair and equitable.

    • serengeti says:

      So Diallo, answer a question for us.

      What did Arnold Minors do all day when he was Ewart Brown’s Press and Public Relations Secretary? Did he sit around writing speeches for Ewart, Burgess and all the other Ministers of the day who were presumably incapable of writing their own speeches?

      What “consultant written articles” did we get in those days that were passed off as original work by PLP ministers?

      I just want some transparency on this, since you seem to know all about it.

      • serengeti says:

        Cat got your tongue, Diallo?

        • Creamy says:

          Diallo’s a self important airhead. He won’t answer.

  11. Tough Love says:

    How are religious organizations going to fit in this service box that they are creating? I’m sure that they all consult God in their choices, so how will the Centre of Philosophy build that into their “effective governance” subject?

  12. LOL (Original TM*) says:

    One thing is for sure these PLP posters really hate Nadi. What all because she is the one that put the last nail in the coffin for the PLP.

    LOL grow up

  13. HMMMMMM says:

    So was there an annoncement of any kind on the radio, posters etc. to say Breakfast being served for the less fortunate etc. on Monday at the Cahedral??? I don’t recall seeing or hearing of anything about it. Nice gesture. They had 15 vlounteers but share how many attended.